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Premier League, Carabao Cup and clásico: the weekend’s talking points

Underrated Pearson has transformed Watford, Wolves’ unsung hero comes to fore and Messi and Griezmann just don’t click

The sound of a top-flight stadium reverberating to “We’ve got super Nigel Pearson, he knows exactly what we need” (tune: Bad Moon Rising) can be filed among the things few envisaged in August. But Watford’s win against Liverpool was a measure of the uplift one of the season’s less likely appointments has contrived. “He is always about feet on the floor, he [has] never overreacted and you have to stay focused,” said Abdoulaye Doucouré. “He showed us videos and said we can do it. Nigel is a great, great manager, a great lad, and now he will keep everyone on the floor to make sure we keep our goal to stay up.” Pearson’s tactical acumen can be underrated – as he showed with his setup against the leaders, stretching Liverpool yet managing to stay compact – but his man-management is getting crucial extra percentages out of his players. Nick Ames

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